News

New Year, New News…

New years 2019

Members,

I have always thought of the New Year as a time of reflection. I like to think back on the previous year and reflect on both my successes and failures. At the same time, I like to think forward into the new year and begin to build a plan for success in the upcoming year(s). With that being said, I’m very optimistic about 2019. We’re going into the year with a new Farm Bill which gives farmer’s stability and continuity for the next five years. We just experienced a major disaster in regard to Hurricane Michael but I believe that the conversations that are taking place post storm are going to bring forward fundamental and positive changes for producers in regard to safety net programs.

While I am optimistic for 2019, I am at the same time, like many of you, growing tired of the current government shutdown. Dysfunction and stagnation in Washington seems to have become the new normal in recent years. As of today this is the second longest shutdown in history at twenty days. The longest shutdown lasted twenty-one days and if I was a betting man I’d bet that this one will soon take that title. The shutdown is currently prohibiting producers from being able to conduct business at their respective FSA offices. On a bright note, Secretary Perdue issued a statement earlier this week that said he would be extending the initial Market Facilitation Payment (MFP) signup period past the original January 15th deadline.

We continue to work and lobby for the WHIP program in regard to Michael. I do believe that we will receive a disaster payment and I do believe that the program will be more comprehensive than the 2017 program. However, I am not sure as to when that will be. We have tirelessly voiced the need for a disaster payment to be issued in a timely fashion but Washington is currently engrossed in shutdown madness with no end in sight.

On a local note, the GPA Annual Meeting has been scheduled for noon on January 24th at the Tiftarea Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia. We hope that each of you will be able to join us on the 24th as recap our first year as an organization and prepare to embark into 2019 and beyond. Additionally, we are preparing to have several member drives in the upcoming weeks as we continue to expand our network of producers. We encourage each of you to invite your friends and neighbors to join our group. While we all have a voice, they carry a much greater weight when combined together.

That is all for now. I hope you all enjoy your weekend and I hope to see you on the 24th.

Trey

On Trade Aid….

Sonny Perdue

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday that USDA will extend the Jan. 15 enrollment deadline for the payments and add a comparable number of days to set a new deadline when USDA funding is reauthorized by Congress and approved by the president.

USDA Launches Second Round of Trade Mitigation Payments

(Washington, D.C., December 17, 2018) – At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today launched the second and final round of trade mitigation payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. Producers of certain commodities will now be eligible to receive Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments for the second half of their 2018 production.

“The President reaffirmed his support for American farmers and ranchers and made good on his promise, authorizing the second round of payments to be made in short order. While there have been positive movements on the trade front, American farmers are continuing to experience losses due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. This assistance will help with short-term cash flow issues as we move into the new year,” said Perdue.

Secretary Perdue announced in July that USDA would act to aid farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to help protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets to help American farmers compete globally. In September, USDA initiated three programs to aid American agriculture in sustaining the short-term damages associated with the trade disputes and securing long-term, stable export markets.

 

Details of programs currently employed by USDA:

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has been administering MFP to provide the first payments to almond, corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, fresh sweet cherry, and wheat producers since September 2018 for the first 50 percent of their 2018 production. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is administering a food purchase and distribution program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is distributing these commodities through nutrition assistance programs, such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program and child nutrition programs.

So far, USDA has procured some portion of 16 of the 29 commodities included in the program, totaling more than 4,500 truckloads of food. AMS will continue purchasing commodities for delivery throughout 2019.Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, $200 million is being made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions. The application period closed in November with more than $600 million in requested activities from more than 70 organizations. FAS will announce ATP funding awards in early January.

 

Market Facilitation Program

Producers need only sign-up once for the MFP to be eligible for the first and second payments. The MFP sign-up period opened in September and runs through January 15, 2019, with information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp. Producers must complete an application by January 15, 2019 but have until May 1, 2019 to certify their 2018 production.

The MFP provides payments to almond, cotton, corn, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, fresh sweet cherry, and wheat producers who have been significantly impacted by actions of foreign governments resulting in the loss of traditional exports. The MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation CCC Charter Act and is under the administration of USDA’s FSA. Eligible producers should apply after harvest is complete, as payments will only be issued once production is reported.

For farmers who have already applied, completed harvest, and certified their 2018 production, a second payment will be issued on the remaining 50 percent of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for the specific commodity.

Commodity Initial Payment Rate Est. Initial Payment** (In $1,000)
Almonds (Shelled) $0.03/lb. $63,300
Cotton $0.06/lb. $553,800
Corn $0.01/bu. $192,000
Dairy (milk) $0.12/cwt. $254,800
Pork (hogs) $8.00/head $580,600
Soybeans $1.65/bu. $7,259,400
Sorghum $0.86/bu. $313,600
Sweet Cherry (fresh) $0.16/lb. $111,500
Wheat $0.14/bu. $238,400
Total $9,567,400
 

MFP payments are limited to a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat capped per person or legal entity. MFP payments are also limited to a combined $125,000 for dairy and hog producers, and a combined $125,000 for fresh sweet cherry and almond producers. Applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.

 

For more further information or to locate and contact local FSA offices, interested producers can visit www.farmers.gov.

Are You Getting Your ARC & PLC Money?

The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offer a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in prices or revenues for covered commodities. If you produce the following commodities you may be eligible to receive financial assistance:

  • barley
  • canola
  • large and small chickpeas
  • corn
  • crambe
  • flaxseed
  • grain sorghum
  • lentils
  • mustard seed
  • oats
  • peanuts
  • dry peas
  • rapeseed
  • long grain rice
  • medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice)
  • safflower seed
  • sesame
  • soybeans
  • sunflower seed
  • wheat
  • upland cotton.

For more details regarding these programs, go to www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc

USDA Enrollment Period for Safety Net Coverage in 2018

Pile of peanuts

Farmers and ranchers with base acres in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net program still have time to enroll for the 2018 crop year. The enrollment period for farms without generic base acres will end on Sept. 28, 2018. Producers with generic base acres have until Dec. 7, 2018, to allocate generic base acres, update yields, make a program election for seed cotton base acres and enroll farms that formerly contained generic base acres.

Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers must enroll by signing a contract each program year.

The producers on a farm that are not enrolled for the 2018 enrollment period will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2018 crop should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the program. Producers who made their elections in previous years must still enroll during the 2018 enrollment period. 

The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offer a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in prices or revenues for covered commodities. Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed, wheat and upland cotton. For more details regarding these programs, go to www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc

GPA Talk Agriculture with Senator Perdue

The GPA was honored to receive a request to meet with Senator David Perdue to discuss issues that are directly affecting Georgia cotton and peanut producers. We’re honored to have great people like Senator Perdue representing Georgia and Agriculture on Capitol Hill.

USDA Launches Trade Mitigation Programs

Corn plant

USDA launched the trade mitigation package aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. Producers of certain commodities can now sign up for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).

USDA provided details in August of the programs to be employed. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted. USDA is currently working to determine how to address market disruptions for producers of almonds and sweet cherries.

The sign-up period for MFP is now open and runs through Jan. 15, 2019, with information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp. MFP provides payments to cotton, corn, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers who have been significantly impacted by actions of foreign governments resulting in the loss of traditional exports. Eligible producers should apply after harvest is complete, as payments will only be issued once production is reported.

A payment will be issued on 50 percent of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for a specific commodity. A second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the USDA.

CommodityInitial Payment RateEst. Initial Payment** (In $1,000)
Cotton$0.06/lb.$276,900
Corn$0.01/bu.$96,000
Dairy (milk)$0.12/cwt.$127,400
Pork (Hogs)$8.00/head$290,300
Soybeans$1.65/bu.$3,629,700
Sorghum$0.86/bu.$156,800
Wheat$0.14/bu.$119,200
Total$4,696,300

**Initial payment rate on 50% of production MFP payments are limited to a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat capped per person or legal entity.

MFP payments are also limited to a combined $125,000 for dairy and hog producers. Applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.

What are Areas of Concern to GPA?

Cotton plants

The Georgia Producers Alliance is committed to promote continued stability and growth for Georgia cotton and peanut producers. We are committed to helping Georgia farmers in any way we can, but the following are key areas of concern:

  • Helping to protect the current Peanut PLC Program.
  • Helping to improve the current Seed Cotton PLC Program.
  • Helping to protect current payment limits.
  • Helping to protect crop insurance subsidies.
  • Helping to restore funding to NRCS.
  • Helping to preserve producer’s water usage.
  • To be proactive on behalf of producer’s interest in regard to any future challenges that may affect Georgia cotton or peanut producers.